When I was in Melbourne recently, while at dinner with my nephew and his girlfriend, I was talking about my plans to check out places for good coffee and good breakfast/brunch. They both suggested I try out Auction Rooms. I had not heard of it before and was only too happy to take down suggestions from locals.
So that Sunday morning, I woke up feeling a little ill and I could feel I was coming down with a cold and sore throat. But the thought of having a decent cup of coffee and a good brunch kept me going until I found a pharmacy to get some Codral (after returning from Auction Rooms).
Auction Rooms is located in North Melbourne. It is housed in an old WB Ellis auction house, hence the very apt name. Never having ventured to this suburb before, I was interested to have look around the place. I took the Tram #57 from Elizabeth Street and stopped off at Tram stop 12. Then it is literally a short walk to Auction Rooms.
As I approached the cafe, I could see many people milling outside and there were also outdoor tables filled with diners. It was a bright and sunny morning in Melbourne, a perfect way to enjoy a meal by sitting outside.
I stepped in and was immediately greeted with a large loft filled to the brim with diners, there were lots of noise with all the conversations going on and a queue of people waiting for a table. Oh dear! I wondered how long it would take for me to grab one.
I had deliberately set Sunday as my day and I had not made any prior social engagements, which was a blessing in disguise what with being sick and all. So it was a table for 1. Hurray! I was lucky, I got a table straight away.
I loved the vibe. The place was buzzing and being there perked up my spirits! I couldn't wait to have my meal. I started with a skim cappuccino which by default is their in house blend called Candyman. They also have a coffee bar where I could see syphons, coffees from Kenya, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia displayed on the shelves. Serious stuff!
My coffee was very good. Smooth and creamy. I so wanted another cup and would have ordered more but refrained until I finished my meal.
The juice of the day was Watermelon, strawberry, with honey and mint. Delicious!
For my brunch I had the "Shady deal" - Shakshuka of braised spiced tomato, eggplant, peppers, and chick peas. This was topped with 2 poached eggs and served with grilled flatbread.
Verdict: The Shakshuka was delicious. The eggs were perfectly poached, the tomato was not too tangy and the flavours were delightful. The flatbread was nice and warm and I like a cafe which is generous with their bread servings. There have been many occasions where I have had Shakshuka with a small serving of bread and been left wanting more.
The couple next to me, who were sitting at the bar, were preparing to leave and they turned around to tell me that they had the same brunch as mine and they found it to be very delicious. It turns out they were from Sydney too!
There is only one negative comment I have to say about this cafe. I had to wait quite a while for my brunch. It was longer than I anticipated and I could see that they were trying their best to fill the orders quickly but it was a packed house and obviously not enough cooks in the kitchen. The waitresses were run off their feet getting orders served plus taking new orders.
But having said that, I will definitely want to return to this place. A delightful cafe and one I am glad to have visited. I can't believe that they have been trading for the past 5 years and I have been in the dark about this one. Seriously, I can be so slow sometimes!
103-107 Errol Street
Tel: +613 9326 7749